MANILA - For Gilbert Teodoro Jr., there are only 2 options after the 2010 elections: the presidency or retirement from politics.
Teodoro told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Business Nightly on Thursday that he is joining the next race for the highest post in the country since he would like to retire early from public service.
“I would like this to be the last in actual elective public service that I’ll do,” he told host Ricky Carandang.
A Philippine president has a fixed term of 6 years. Teodoro is now 45 years old.
“I find myself in an opportunity where I’m still probably in my prime—physically and intellectually—and can still devote myself to the country,” he said.
“After this stage in my career, probably I will not do the same thing again,” he added.
Teodoro belongs to a divided Cojuangco clan that has been active in local and national politics.
He represented the first district of Tarlac province in Congress for 3 terms from 1998, after serving as the lawyer of his uncle, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, a staple in politics and business.
President Arroyo then appointed him as Defense Secretary and concurrent chair of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.
These appointments exposed him to high-profile incidents, including the months-long kidnapping of 3 volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the island province of Sulu in Mindanao.
Last month, he was at the forefront of the disaster management efforts of the government in the wake of back-to-back typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng (international code names Ketsana and Parma), which killed hundreds and damaged billions-worth of properties, including farmlands, in Central and Northern regions of Luzon.
Since he announced in March that will join the presidential race in the May 2010 polls, he has not wavered in his resolve to clinch the country’s top post.
His ratings in surveys, however, have barely improved. In the latest survey results of Pulse Asia conducted last October 22-30, he garnered a 2% voting preference share among 1,800 respondents.
The survey’s margin of error is 2%.
He is banking on the political machinery of his party, the administration-led Lakas-Kampi-CMD, which formally proclaimed him as their presidential contender during their Thursday national convention
If he fails to win, he said he will retire “help the country in another capacity.”
One of his options is to contribute policy-related inputs on the security sector to non-governmental organizations and think tanks.
Another is to “devote time to my wife and son.” He is married to Tarlac Rep. Nikki Prieto. - abs-cbnNEWS.com